Since 1994, Habitat for Humanity, The Heart of Wyoming has constructed 41 homes in Natrona County.
Seven homes have been completed and two homes are currently under construction at Harris Crossing, the affiliate's first subdivision in
Our partner families and their dreams of homeownership are at
the center of our mission. Their
story is our story.
What does your dream home look like?
“Ours. The home has good curb appeal
and is very enjoyable."
- Habitat Homeowner, Melanie Cantu-Busler
Constance Lozano, 43, was at work when she learned she had been accepted into Habitat for Humanity, The Heart of Wyoming’s Homeownership Program. As a receptionist for Central Wyoming Skin Clinic, Constance knew she had to remain professional, but inside she was filled with disbelief. Once at home, she cried tears of joy.
Constance will be sharing her new home with her two youngest sons, Xavier, 16, and Joseph Kane, 12. Her eldest son Alex, 19, is attending Collège.
“I was so elated. I was over the moon,” said Constance. She celebrated by making phone calls to her tearful mother, her sisters, and her father. And then there is Grace.
Grace, Constance’s daughter, died from kidney and liver disease in 2016 at the age of 17, but she will always remain part of the family. Constance believes Grace saw their need for a home and has had an important role in their family reaching this milestone.
Currently, Constance and her family live in income-based housing. Their apartment has been broken into and violent crimes regularly occur in the area. When first moving to Casper, Constance and her children lived in her sister’s basement. While she is proud to have moved into an apartment, Constance wanted more for her family.
“Casper has been very kind to us,” she said, mentioning other programs that have helped her advance professionally and personally. Constance had learned of Habitat for Humanity’s Homeownership Program, but she did not believe she had the financial stability needed to be considered.
“I didn’t think I would get it, but I wouldn’t be any worse off than I am now,” Constance explained. “If I put
my application in, I could at least learn how to get farther in the process in the future.”
Constance is looking forward to building her own home and helping her Habitat for Humanity neighbors do the same. Though nervous about the construction aspect of the Homeownership Program, Constance believes the experience of building her home will make it much more personal.
“The experience of putting something together that you’re going to live in – you’re going to want to keep it that way and take care of it,” said Constance. And when her family finally moves into their home, Constance knows Grace will be with them.
“To be able to talk about her brings me so much joy. Your loved ones are never really gone,” Constance said. “Grace would have been so excited.” So is Constance.
Chelsea Thomas had been looking for a home for her and her daughter Lillian for two years. Every home in her price range was a foreclosed property that needed extensive repairs. With limited options, Chelsea began to explore other opportunities, including Habitat for Humanity. Chelsea, 28, works at Hilltop Bank as a loan processor. She said without a doubt it is the best job she has ever had.
“I love going to work every day,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a place that is more community and family oriented.”
Her co-workers at the bank knew of her struggles with difficult neighbors, landlords not providing timely maintenance and her inability to find a safe, affordable home.
Chelsea and 5-year-old Lilly once waited a week for a functioning refrigerator. Her kitchen was full of coolers and ice with food in them, but still much food went to waste. Similarly, she had problems with the plumbing that have never been fixed. These are only a few of the many obstacles Chelsea faced daily to provide for her family.
It was the same coworkers who knew her challenges that encouraged Chelsea to apply for Habitat for Humanity’s Homeownership Program. Their familiarity with organization helped answered many of her questions before she ever submitted her application.
Part of a close family, Chelsea relied on her grandparents heavily growing up. To this day, Chelsea and Lilly spend a lot of time with her grandparents, playing board games on the weekends and going camping in the summer.
“They have done so much for me,” she said. “I would not be the person I am without them.” Upon learning Chelsea has been accepted into Habitat’s program, her grandparents were beyond excited.
“They knew this would be good for me. It would be something that would move us forward,” she said. That’s exactly how Chelsea sees it.
“Having a child, you need someplace you can go right into and not be worried about any health issues,” she explained. “I am ready to take on my responsibility and see this as a new milestone in my life.”
While she’s never built anything, Chelsea is not afraid of the work required. As a previous employee in a home improvement store, Chelsea knows what she learns on the construction site will help her once she’s a homeowner.
“If something breaks, I will know how to fix it because I know how it was built,” she said.
With no construction experience to speak of, Elicia Nekut, 25, is excited to build her own home for herself and her daughter Emmi, 7.
“When people come to visit my home, I can say ‘I built this,’” Elicia said. “I have never built anything, but I think building my own
home will make me value it more.”
Elicia has been a sales representative with 307 Metal Works for more than three years. She enjoys her job, but had her hours
reduced earlier this year as a result of the pandemic. After applying to the Homeownership Program in January 2020, Elicia was
not sure if she wanted to try again. It was her mother that encouraged her to do so.
Elicia has been living in affordable housing for six years, but does not feel like her apartment is truly her home. Her daughter, who loves the outdoors, has not had a place to play outside due to safety concerns. Consequently, Elicia and Emmi spend much of their time at her parents’ home.
By becoming a homeowner, Elicia will be able to host company in the future and invite her extended family to her own home. More importantly, Elicia wants to provide safety and stability for her daughter.
“I want somewhere she can grow up, and where I can start a new chapter as a mom,”
Elicia said. While her daughter may not fully understand how homeownership will change their lives, Elicia is eager to free herself from the restrictions that come with living in an apartment building.
“I’m looking forward to closing day and moving in,” she said. “I want my own home.”
In 2012, Samantha Moravetz’s life changed forever. She was in a car accident that required hospitalization. Without health
insurance, Samantha was overwhelmed with the bills that followed. Samantha, 33, said her desire to become a Habitat for
Humanity homeowner was her motivation for becoming debt-free.
Growing up, Samantha recalls her family frequently moving, oftentimes into a trailer or apartment. That is not the life she
wants for her 7-year-old son Eddie.
“I want Eddie to feel he has a place to come home to and to grow up in,” Samantha explained. “I know a lot of people who
don’t have that.”
Motivated by a better life for her family, Samantha resolutely began the slow process of addressing her debt and becoming
financially stable. Starting in July 2018, she began applying for Habitat for Humanity’s Homeownership Program. It was not
until her fifth application that she was accepted.
“I wanted the Selection Committee to see how committed I am to the Homeownership Program and to being debt-free,” she said. “I don’t want to depend on anyone for the rest of my life. I achieved where I am through hard work.”
Today, Samantha is no longer focused on the next application cycle, but instead, she is ready to begin building her own home.
After many years of living in public housing, Samantha is looking forward to the security of owning her own home and the
space it will provide Eddie. Purchasing her own home will mean the simple joy of having something that is entirely her own.
“I’ve never owned anything except a car,” Samantha said. “I want to be able to say, ‘I have this, and I’m never going to move
Previously a homeowner, circumstances required Sara Fritsinger, 46, to sell her home. There was not an inch of the house Sara did not touch in preparing to sell.
“I painted the entire house, painted the cabinets, put in new flooring,” she said, adding that her daughters helped. “It was therapeutic.
We had fun.”
After selling their home, Sara and her daughters, Charlize, 18, and Ashlyn, 16, moved in with her parents, where they lived for four years. During this time, Sara was on the waiting list for low-income housing for a year and a half, but still longed for something of her own.
Previously employed in the medical field, Sara’s career demanded long hours away from her daughters. Wanting to prioritize her family over everything else, Sara left her position and sought new opportunities within the community.
Through it all, faith has had an important role in Sara and her family’s life. Being highly involved in their faith community at Restoration Church, Sara began volunteering to provide lunch to high school students in need. More than ever, Sara knew she wanted to pursue work that had purpose and where she would make a difference for others. After serving in various roles for the
organization, Sara became the church finance manager.
“I love working there,” Sara said. “It was an easy hand-off – I’d much rather feel like a good mom and have a fulfilling job than make a lot of money.”
Knowing homeownership remained a goal, Pastor Randy Raver shared information about Habitat for Humanity’s Homeownership Program and encouraged Sara to apply. During her time with Restoration Church, Sara has seen many people in need and struggled to think that a program like this could be available for her family.
“I know there’s such a need for affordable housing in Casper,” she said. “I didn’t want to take something from someone else. It’s just amazing there are programs like Habitat.”
With a new perspective, Sara decided to apply and has since become a future homeowner in the Harris Crossing subdivision.
“We make home wherever we are, but this is where we can plant roots.”